Incoming freshmen attend first 'STEM Academy'


Nineteen students poised to start college at MCLA this fall got a sneak peek into what the next four years will hold as they prepare to earn degrees in science or math at a new, five-day program designed for incoming freshmen who plan to major in science or math, or who are interested in science.

According to Christopher Himes, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program manager, during STEM Academy, the students attended classes in chemistry, physics, biology and math to get a taste of the type of work they'll be doing as science majors, as they discovered what faculty members love about their field.

Svetlana Morrell '17 of Stillwater, N.Y., said, "Not only did I get an introduction to the fields of math and science, but I also had the ability to talk to many professors and individuals associated with these fields."

At the Academy, students also worked with 'STEM Academy Fellows' - current or recently graduated MCLA science students - on skills they'll need to be successful; such as time management, organization, and ways to help them study and be prepared for classes.

In addition to helping to boost students' academic skills, STEM Academy was designed to help them to form connections with faculty and staff, as well as friendships with like-minded students, who can provide peer support in the years to come.

While Morrell began the program with plans to major in biology, after talking to professors and some STEM Academy Fellows, she decided to declare a double major in biology and psychology.

She continued, "I am no longer nervous about attending college or getting into grad school. After being able to see the closeness of the students and faculty and the community of the College, I am now at ease about my decision to attend MCLA, and am confident that the professors and faculty will be helpful as I achieve my goals."

Rachel Mills '17 of Highland Mills, N.Y., called the volume of material she learned at the Academy "miraculous."

"In addition to academics, I feel as though the STEM program also enabled me to not only meet some of my new classmates, but to also familiarize myself with the campus, which will make it easier for me to find my way around once classes start," Mills said.

Marisa White '17 of Scituate, Mass., and Shelby Gauthier '17 of Clinton, Mass., agreed.

"I really felt like I got a feel for the campus and what it will be like to live at MCLA," White said. "I also refreshed my math and science skills, and got a head start on some of the material that may be covered."

Gauthier said, "My experience at STEM was very helpful for the upcoming semester. I have become more familiar with the campus. I am very thankful for the labs we had participated in since I was unable to take chemistry in high school."

The students also got their first look at MCLA's new Center for Science and Innovation.

"It is coming out fabulously and I cannot wait to start taking classes in there in a couple of weeks," Mills said. "STEM was indeed a very beneficial way to end my summer and also begin my career as a MCLA student!"